'Major trouble': Passenger describes terrifying moments after engine issue that caused emergency landing at RDU

Elaina Athans Image
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Terrifying video shows engine trouble on plane that diverted to RDU
Terrifying video shows engine trouble on plane that diverted to RDU

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Terrifying video shows problems with a plane's engine as it prepared to make an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday.

VIDEO: Passengers thankful for safe landing after SF to Hawaii flight's engine fails

A flight to paradise turned into a frightening ordeal for passengers aboard a United Airlines flight. One of the jet's two engines failed over the Pacific Ocean. Passengers are happy to be back on the ground.

Some passengers on Delta flight 1425 took to social media Tuesday to express frustration about how the incident was represented by the company.

"We heard and felt everything," John Leonard, who was on the flight, told our sister station ABC11.

He said he was sitting at the back of the plane, which was headed from Atlanta to Baltimore when he heard a loud boom.

"It was extremely terrifying to be honest," he said. "Once it went, you had no doubt that it was major trouble and then seconds later smoke started filling the cabin in the back. You could smell it. It smelled like burning metal and the cabin started to vibrate."

Cell-phone video showed the flight crew giving passengers instructions.

Other video making rounds on social media showed flames shooting from the engine.

One social media user sent a tweet to the airline Tuesday that said: "Dear @delta since you guys are not releasing what happened to our flight yesterday, flight 1425 Atlanta to Baltimore which made an emergency landing in Raleigh, maybe this video will help the investigation. A piece of the plane flew into the engine and caused it to fail."

A Delta spokesperson sent a statement to ABC11 on Monday, saying they diverted the plane "out of an abundance of caution after receiving an indication of a possible issue with one of the aircraft's engines." The spokesperson added that the flight landed without incident.

Leonard told ABC11 that he felt the company tried to sweep the problem under the rug.

VIDEO: Southwest flight from Chicago diverted to Cleveland after window cracks

"No... we had a serious problem," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I will give all the credit to the pilots and the flight attendants for doing their job because they did it very, very well."

Still, he said, it was a frightening experience.

"The vibrations lasted for a good while," he said. "The vibration was so bad that people were actually holding up the top of (the plane). We were afraid that it was going to come caving down so we were holding up the sides of the plane."

Delta issued a new statement Tuesday: The flight crew of Delta flight 1425 from Atlanta to Baltimore elected to divert to Raleigh, N.C. after receiving an indication of an issue with one of the aircraft's engines. The flight landed without incident and customers were reaccommodated on an alternate aircraft. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience this diversion may have caused."

The company said the aircraft's engine has been replaced and the plane will be placed back into rotation Wednesday.